Two individuals and four community projects received recognition tonight during the 10th Annual Mayor’s Community Safety Awards for their outstanding work in the community.


“My sincere congratulations to the recipients, and thank you for all you do in and for our community,” said Mayor Bill Mauro. “Through these awards, I’m proud to recognize and highlight your achievements.”


Always a highlight of the awards ceremony, inspiring videos featuring the recipients and the important work they do aired online and on local television, allowing for more citizens to watch.


The 2020 Mayor’s Community Safety Award Recipients are as follows:



John Kelly, Chair

Thunder Bay Skateboard Coalition

John Kelly is a tireless advocate for accessible, gender-neutral, low-cost recreation opportunities across the city. Together with the City of Thunder Bay, youth, and other communities, John helped design the Marina Park Skateboard/BMX Plaza and had the honour of cutting the tape in 2008. Now he runs the non-profit Eclectic Skateboard Shop and uses the earnings to support Thunder Bay’s local skateboarding scene through skate competitions, free lessons, and loaner boards to new skaters or families that can’t afford one. Kids come to spend time, learn new tricks, and enjoy exercise, but it’s also a safe place where kids come to meet new people, reach out for help, and feel included; no wonder the skate park is perhaps the most well-used recreation facility the city offers. During the skate season, John and his son are at the park almost every night - teaching someone to skateboard, directing a tourist, or warmly welcoming nervous future skateboarders of every stripe. As John believes, “whatever troubles you have in the rest of your life are left at the door when you walk into the park.”

Award sponsored by Apex Security & Investigation



Noah Barile, Media Relations Co-ordinator

Tree of Hope Project

When Noah Barile learned of the new community-driven Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) Tree of Hope initiative, he got right on board. A St. Patrick’s High School student and just 14 years old, Noah Barile began by researching MMIWG, then designed a website, created content and selected images, developed and managed a social media presence, created a GoFundMe fundraising platform, and spoke at the launch as a youth representative. The inaugural lighting of the Tree of Hope in November 2019 was a huge success. Noah, a true young leader, has an astonishing 600+ hours of community service that includes re-designing St. Dominic’s Church website and actively participating in church life and liturgy, volunteering for the Thunder Bay Multicultural Association by tutoring new students to our country, as well as participating in local food drives and assisting at the Shelter House. He has also raised over $3300 for the Canadian Cancer Society through Cops for Cancer, in which he participated twice, shaving his head both times. Noah continues to manage and monitor the Tree of Hope website and designed the 2nd Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony poster - Calling all Drummers.

Award sponsored by Generator



Stop Now and Plan (SNAP) Program

Dilico Anishinabek Family Care

Since 2018, Dilico Anishinabek Family Care has delivered the internationally recognized Stop Now and Plan (SNAP®) program in the city and district of Thunder Bay. This focused intervention program provides a framework to help children aged 6-11 who struggle with behavioural issues and, together with their parent/caregiver(s), teaches how to learn self-control and problem-solving skills along with strategies to manage their emotions. Throughout the year, SNAP offers children and their families a 13-week intervention group, individual and family counselling, and works with community groups to transfer SNAP strategies that can be used in their social and recreational programming for children in identified high priority areas. During COVID-19, Dilico’s provincially funded SNAP program continued operating as a pilot virtual-based program, offering support and check-ins with families to ensure basic needs were met, as well as problem solving to help with the many changes in family dynamics and household routines due to closure of in-person school services. 

SNAP works with local crisis services such as Thunder Bay Police Services, Superior North Emergency Medical Services, and Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, as well as local school boards, Thunder Bay District Social Services Administration Board, City of Thunder Bay Parks and Recreation Division, and local children’s mental health service providers to proactively identify children and families who could benefit from the program. By improving children’s prosocial communication, social competency, successes at school, and connection to positive community activities, SNAP improves and sustains community safety.

Award sponsored by Circle K



Tree of Hope Project

Sharlene Bourdeau, Committee Lead

Sharlene Bourdeau, police officer with the Thunder Bay Police Service, sparked the Tree of Hope Project as she thought about raising awareness of the appalling number of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG) in Canada – estimated at 1,200 to 4,000 cases, many of which remain unsolved. With overwhelming support from the Thunder Bay Police Association, she spearheaded a committee of community members who envisioned three components: lighting trees to remember MMIWG, a GoFundMe account to raise money for rewards, and inviting anonymous submissions to Crime Stoppers. The inaugural Tree of Hope campaign kicked off in November 2019 outside police headquarters with 200 people witnessing the lighting of 1,200 red bulbs – each representing a MMIWG in Canada – capped by tree-topping blue stars, signifying law enforcement support. This year, 4,000 lights will commemorate all possible MMIWG, and the Indigenous youth at Hammarskjold High School’s KZ Lodge program will build a fire pit depicting the Seven Grandfather Teachings to hold a sacred fire. When the Tree of Hope blazes on November 15, 2020, it will bring further awareness to MMIWG unsolved cases and empower people to come forward with information to help make communities safer, reassure families their loved ones are not forgotten, and help communities heal.

Award sponsored by Matawa First Nations Management



PATH 525 - Consumption + Treatment Services

NorWest Community Health Centres

In late November 2018, NorWest Community Health Centres expanded their harm reduction services and opened the door to Path 525, an overdose prevention service. Clients now have a safe place to consume illicit substances while receiving safe consumption education, harm reduction supplies, and overdose response. Supervised by a registered nurse, harm reduction and outreach workers, team members connect clients to community resources such as housing, mental health and addiction services, primary health care, and other community supports. Path 525 is a strong contributor to community safety on many fronts. Path 525 improves the health and well-being of people who inject drugs; supports safe injection practices that reduce risk for disease transmission; and, enhances use of health and social services, including mental health and addiction services. Together with many community partners, such as Dilico Anishinabek Family Care, Thunder Bay Drug Strategy, Thunder Bay Police Service, Emergency Medical Services, Thunder Bay District Health Unit, Elevate NWO, and Janzen’s Pharmacy, NorWest Community Health Centres raises awareness about the opioid crisis, while addressing stigma, discrimination, and inequities that continue to impact individuals, families, and communities.

Award sponsored by Enbridge



Elizabeth Fry Society Northwestern Ontario-Food Outreach

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Elizabeth Fry Society NWO quickly reimagined their outreach, applied for funding, and created a partnership with Roots to Harvest to supply food for street-involved women. Each week, Elizabeth Fry staff and volunteers arrived at Roots to Harvest to pack and assemble food bags, then headed out to neighbourhoods to connect with vulnerable street-involved women, deliver food, and see what other resources were needed. In response, they organized four pop-up events to allow service providers, including street nurses, Elevate NWO, and Roots to Harvest, to distribute harm reduction supplies, food, and clothing, and provide access to health screening. While taking on this new street outreach role, they continue to advocate for, and support, women in prison, women transitioning back into the community, and women at risk of criminalization. With an incredible spirit of collaboration, Elizabeth Fry NWO takes great care to recognize and celebrate all partners, funders, and community. This outlook encourages future partnerships between organizations, shows donors and funders that their support is multiplied and impact deepened, while their respectful grassroots approach makes it safe for vulnerable women to engage and access resources that promote stability and lead to healthier outcomes.

Award sponsored by Thunder Bay Police Services Board


Each Outstanding Community Project received a $1,000 award from their sponsor to support community safety efforts. You can view videos of the winners and their respective projects here:




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Contact:          Rebecca Eras, Communications Officer – City of Thunder Bay, 621-4151